round one million people are having to self-isolate, a government minister has said, amid extensive speculation that testing requirements could be changed.
Officials are said to be considering relaxing the requirements for a confirmatory PCR test after a positive lateral flow test.
Minister hints at changes to testing rules as ‘lateral flow capacity trebled’
A record number of lateral flow tests were mailed to people on Tuesday, a government minister has said, as she hinted at changes to testing rules.
Care minister Gillian Keegan hinted Wednesday that while there is no official news as however on testing rules, “you may be able to expect some news – I don’t know when.”
It comes amid speculation that the requirement for a confirmatory PCR test after testing positive on a lateral flow test could be dropped.
She additional that capacity of lateral flow tests have been increased.
“So for January and February, we have 350 million lateral flow tests,” she said. “So hopefully that should sort out some of the short-term supply issues that we’ve had where people have had to wait a little bit to get their packs.
New variant detected in France with 46 mutations
A new Covid variant with 46 mutations has been detected in France.
The B.1.640.2 variant, named the “IHU” variant by researchers, was first spotted in southern France and is connected to travel to Cameroon, according to a pre-print study.
Researchers based at the IHU Mediterranee hospital in Marseille said the new variant was connected to a vaccinated man who had recently returned from Cameroon three days before to his home in south-eastern France.
However, experts stress that new variants are discovered frequently, and that it is too early to “speculate” on the severity or transmissibility of the so-called ‘IHU’ variant.
United States sets new world daily situations record
The United States reported nearly 1 million new coronavirus infections on Monday, the highest daily tally of any country in the world.
This nearly doubles the past U.S. peak set just a week ago as the spread of the Omicron variant showed no signs of slowing.
The 978,856 new infections recorded on Monday included some situations tallied on Saturday and Sunday, as many states do not report over the weekend.
In response to the high case numbers nationally, Chicago Public Schools, the nation’s third-largest school district, said it would cancel classes on Wednesday after the teachers’ union voted in favor of a return to far away learning.
Care homes ‘begin restricting visits over workplace absences’
Care homes are struggling with staff shortages, with some limiting visits as a results, according to reports on Wednesday morning.
Around 11,000 care home workers are off because of Covid reasons, according to data reported the Guardian, with around 90 care home operators declaring ‘red alerts’.
This position method staffing ratios have been breached. Industry figures also told the Times newspaper on Wednesday that some care homes have already begun restricting visits over Covid staff shortages.
However, Jenny Morrison, of campaigning group, Rights for Residents, said workforce absences made it already more “crucial” for care home operators to “accept the help and sustain that many relatives give.”
Bid to ‘relax isolation rules to stem staff shortages’
Covid testing rules could be relaxed in a bid to stem staff shortages causing disruption in many meaningful sets, according to reports.
Millions of people who test positive on lateral flow devices could be told they do not need to take follow-up PCR tests, reports the Telegraph.
This would average a sooner start to the the official start of isolation for hundreds of thousands people, as currently many have to wait until a positive PCR test if asymptomatic.
The reported proposal would limit PCR tests to those with Covid symptoms, allowing people who are asymptomatic to return to work more quickly.
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